Aylward doesn’t finish, still proud
Tom Aylward of Spirit Lake did not finish the 2011 Ironman Coeur d’Alene on Sunday, but felt proud that he gave it his all.
“I don’t feel bad. I did the best I could,” said Aylward, 62. “I was fine with what I did. It was tough. I can tell you, the Ironman is tough.”
Aylward has been the subject of a six-month Spokesman-Review series as he has trained for the endurance race, which includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run – a marathon.
In two years of training, Aylward lost more than 80 pounds, began eating healthful foods, and learned to swim, bike and run. He has completed numerous shorter triathlons and half-marathons. His new life of fitness helped lift him out of a depression that followed his wife’s death in May 2008.
On Sunday, Aylward finished the swim portion of the race in just under 1 hour and 40 minutes. He then completed the bike ride in 8 hours and 26 minutes.
He started out on the run, but felt too sore in his legs and shoulders to make it more than a few blocks.
“I’m stiff and sore,” Aylward said, “but mentally, I’m OK.”
Tuesday’s paper will feature the final installment in the series on Aylward – “A journey to wellness.”